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Report: 3.2 billion people used the Internet so far in 2015

Around 3.2 billion people across the world will be able to use the Internet, with a global population nearing 7.2 billion total, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU also says around 2 billion Internet users will be from developing nations.

 

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Previously, the United Nations predicted more than 3 billion Internet users by the end of 2014, and that goal has been accomplished.

 

Not surprisingly, Europe (77.6 percent) and the Americas (66 percent) greatly lead in Internet saturation over Africa (20.7 percent) and Asia & Pacific (36.9 percent). Things are looking up as reliable broadband Internet is now affordable in 111 countries, with additional support to drive Internet penetration in emerging nations.

Continue reading 'Report: 3.2 billion people used the Internet so far in 2015' (full post)

YouTube now allows 60FPS for live streaming on HTML5 browsers

YouTube has just launched a new gaming-focused feature into its arsenal, with 60FPS live streaming now available as "an early preview on HTML5-compatible browsers".

 

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The Google-owned video streaming site explained in a post on the YouTube Partners & Creators Blog: "When you start a live stream on YouTube at 60fps, we'll transcode your stream into 720p60 and 1080p60, which means silky smooth playback for gaming and other fast-action videos. We'll also make your stream available in 30fps on devices where high frame rate viewing is not yet available, while we work to expand support in the coming weeks".

 

YouTube worked together with Elgato and XSplit in order to create software that was capable of handling 60FPS streaming.

Silk Road helped reduce risks users faced trying to buy narcotics

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was the mastermind of a billion-dollar online drug ring, according to the US federal government. He was convicted earlier in the year and could face life in prison for his crimes, with prosecutors still quiet on what type of prison term they are seeking at the May 29 sentencing.

 

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Joshua Dratel, Ulbricht's lead defense attorney, has issued a statement saying Silk Road made it safer to purchase and sell drugs. Using the Dark Web, customers could sell or purchase everything from marijuana and hash to cocaine, heroin or LSD - and despite reported overdose deaths - this is an argument that is rather unique.

 

"In contrast to the government's portrayal of the Silk Road website as a more dangerous version of a traditional drug marketplace, in fact the Silk Road website was in many respects the most responsible such marketplace in history, and consciously and deliberately included recognized harm reduction measures, including access to physician counseling," Dratel said in a recent court filing.

Continue reading 'Silk Road helped reduce risks users faced trying to buy narcotics' (full post)

Reddit is down 'for emergency maintenance'

Update #2: And it's back up! Your day can go on like usual, we can breathe normally again now that Reddit is back!

 

Update: According to @redditstatus on Twitter, there was some scheduled maintenance for four hours ago, with a tweet that said: "We'll be performing some database maintenance that will require the site to be in read only mode for May 11, 22:00 - 22:30 PDT". The next tweet which was from around 52 minutes ago read: "Investigating: We're investigating a database master that's gone unavailable". Then, just 38 minutes ago, @redditstatus tweeted: "Identified: Turns out it was good we were preparing to replace a database tonight -- it's the one that just fai...".

 

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Breaking: Reddit, otherwise known as "the front page of the Internet" is down. Visiting the website will result in a nice little blue page that says "Reddit is down for emergency maintenance".

 

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We don't know if this is something that was planned, but as a very daily Reddit user, I haven't read anything about it. It could've been attacked, which is why the 'emergency maintenance' is required. Sites like Reddit don't just run from a single server in an ISP, they have many thousands of servers with companies like Amazon so that this type of thing never happens.

 

We'll report back when we find out more.

Mayweather-Pacquiao proves popular on Meerkat, Periscope

The boxing super fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao may have left many boxing fans disappointed, but it proved extremely popular among Internet pirates. It wasn't difficult to find a live stream of the fight on Periscope and Meerkat, with users sharing streams directly from their TVs into the services before the opening bell.

 

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High demand for the pay-per-view, available for $90 or $100 in the United States, led to Charter, Time Warner and other cable providers enduring service outages shortly before the main event. Piracy likely increased due to the problem, which actually temporarily delayed the start of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

 

Both Meerkat and Periscope have been used to stream Game of Thrones, live sporting events, and other high-profile subscription cable TV shows. Obviously, streaming a PPV broadcast violates the terms of service for both HBO and Showtime, and likely breaks some form of copyright law, but holding users accountable is difficult.

Comcast offers fiber to a US city after suing it for making its own

Comcast has recently announced a two gigabit per second internet option to 200,000 potential customers living in Cattanooga, USA. That's nothing too unusual given normal circumstances, but funnily enough this city isn't your 'run of the mill' rollout.

 

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The reason it's a little different is because Comcast actually sued the Cattanooga utility board previously for trying to build a fiber network of their own and even though the lawsuit was a failure, hundreds of thousands of users were reportedly left out as a result - so in comes the forever helpful Comcast to the rescue.

 

Its Gigabit Pro service doesn't have a price currently attached but we're sure that every single dollar will annoy local residents. Cattanooga currently has the fastest internet available in the United States (gigabit) to those whom can receive it and reports claim that it sets users back a mere $70 per month.

Continue reading 'Comcast offers fiber to a US city after suing it for making its own' (full post)

Microsoft release age detection tech demo

If you've been seeing some hate leveled at Microsoft on social media today, odds are it's due to a new online tool released by the company which attempts to gauge your age from an uploaded photo.

 

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According to the Machine Learning Blog, The 'How Old Do I look?' website is based on the "APIs available in the Azure Machine Learning Gallery. The gallery contains many finished intelligent services such as Face, Speech, and Vision which are part of a new suite called Project Oxford from Bing and Microsoft Research." and took only a day to put together.

 

For the record, the site guesstimated that I was 36. I'm 29. But they were nice enough to apologise in advance with "Sorry if we didn't quite get the age and gender right - we are still improving this feature."

Microsoft Bing search engine now has more than 20% market share in US

For the first time since launching in 2009, the Microsoft Bing search engine now has over 20 percent market share of the US desktop search market, according to comScore.

 

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Google still leads the way with 64.4 percent of the increasingly competitive market, while Bing has 20.1 percent - Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and other companies are trying to adapt to a growing mobile market.

 

Bing has been a major effort for Microsoft, which has continually dumped money and development time into Bing. The search engine is now integrated into Xbox, Office, Windows and the Windows Phone, as Microsoft wants to try to lure users away from Google.

Continue reading 'Microsoft Bing search engine now has more than 20% market share in US' (full post)

Netflix wishes they didn't give Aussie ISP quote-free deals

If you're on a contract with Optus or iiNet there's a possibility that you've been enjoying watching quota-free Netflix content in recent times, thanks to the online streaming giant signing deals with these ISP's in order to secure unlimited viewership for their customers down under.

 

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In a recent statement, Netflix reflected on these past signing and have commented that "we should have avoided that and will avoid it going forward."

 

According to an interview with Gizmodo, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a strong believer in data cap abolishment worldwide. Claiming "there's no reason for data caps. We want to make the internet unmetered. Period. The capped model is antiquated: we want to make it about speed."

 

There has also been no comment as of yet on how many customers Netflix actually holds in Australia, but we're very interested to see the results.

Continue reading 'Netflix wishes they didn't give Aussie ISP quote-free deals' (full post)

Google reportedly planning monthly subscription service for YouTube

According to an e-mail sent out to Google partners today, the Mountain View-based search giant will soon be offering a monthly subscription service to YouTube, which would offer an ad-free experience.

 

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The e-mail says: "Your fans want choices. Not only do they want to watch what they want, whenever they want, anywhere, and on any device they choose, they want YouTube features built specifically with their needs in mind. Over the past several months, we've taken bold new steps to bring these experiences to life. Since inviting hundreds of thousands of fans into our YouTube Music Key Beta, we've seen tremendous engagement. And we've seen an equally enthusiastic response for our new YouTube Kids app, designed to give families a simpler and safer video-viewing experience- it's already crossed 2 million installations in less than one month.

 

We're excited to build on this momentum by taking another big step in favor of choice: offering fans an ads-free version of YouTube for a monthly fee. By creating a new paid offering, we'll generate a new source of revenue that will supplement your fast growing advertising revenue".

 

We should expect YouTube to unveil its monthly subscription service before the end of the year, with a sure to be competitive price.

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